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Network access and interconnection

Regulation

What rules, requirements and procedures govern network-to-network access and interconnection?

Market dominant providers of telecommunications services are obliged to grant access to infrastructure and services to other providers in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner at cost-oriented prices in the following forms:

  • fully unbundled access to the local loop;
  • rebilling for fixed network local loops;
  • interconnection;
  • leased lines; and
  • access to cable ducts, provided these have sufficient capacity.

Providers of services of the universal service must ensure the capability of communication between all users of these services (interoperability). The Federal Council may extend this obligation to other telecommunications services that are publicly accessible and satisfy a widespread need. Providers obliged to provide interoperability must offer interconnection even if they are not dominant in the market. The Federal Council may impose further obligations on providers who are obliged to provide interoperability.

Pricing

Are access/interconnection prices subject to regulation?

Access has to be granted based on cost-oriented prices that are calculated based on the long-run incremental cost, an added constant premium based on a proportional share of the relevant joint and common costs and a return on the capital used for investments, as well as the replacement costs of modern equivalent assets (current cost accounting). Ducts are assessed based on infrastructure renewal accounting. Since July 1 2014 costs have been based on a modern fibre and internet protocol infrastructure (next-generation network and access).

Disputes

How are access/interconnection disputes resolved?

The Federal Act on Telecommunications (TCA) is based on the primacy of negotiation principle. If the telecommunications service providers do not agree within three months on the access conditions, the Swiss Communications Commission (ComCom) shall decide at the request of one party and based on the proposal made by the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM). In this respect, particular account shall be taken of the conditions that promote effective competition, as well as the effects of the decision on competing companies. ComCom may also issue interim measures. If the question of market dominance must be assessed, OFCOM shall consult with the Swiss Competition Commission. ComCom shall take a decision within seven months of receiving the request, and regulate the type and form of accounting and financial information that dominant providers of telecommunications services must submit in such interconnection procedures.

Next-generation access

Have any regulations or initiatives been introduced or proposed with respect to next-generation access?

The Swiss legislation on telecommunications is, as a rule, technology-neutral and does not contain any specific definitions referring to next-generation access networks. Hence, these are, in principle, subject to the provisions of the TCA.

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